Taiwan would provide medical assistance to people if complications arise from taking Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

Deputy MAC Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) made the remarks in response to media queries amid reports that China-based Taiwanese businesspeople were facing pressure from Beijing to be vaccinated for free under its program.

“No Taiwanese businesspeople wanted to get that vaccine,” a source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on condition of anonymity. “China makes forms that Taiwanese businesspeople have to fill out. After they fill out the form, it half-forces them to take the Chinese vaccine.”

The council is “paying close attention” to the situation and would ensure that Taiwanese receive medical care should their health be compromised in China, Chiu said.

Taiwanese working in China should weigh the risk of vaccines carefully and take all precautions to protect their health, he said.

When asked whether the government would set up a “travel bubble” for the Lunar New Year holiday for people who have received a Chinese vaccine, Chiu said: “This is not the time to think about” traveling.

The council would comply with measures set up by the Central Epidemic Command Center, he said.

Commenting on Hong Kong, Chiu condemned the arrest of lawyer Daniel Wong (黃國桐) and 10 other dissidents under the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory.

“The international community is concerned with the authorities’ conduct, which has been harmful to human rights,” he said. “Instead of resorting to ever harsher repression, the path to maintaining tranquility and prosperity in Hong Kong is to deal with people’s wishes with reason and tolerance.”

Meanwhile, the council marked the 30th year of its founding with a Facebook post, saying that its birthday wish is for “the relationship across the Taiwan Strait to be one of mutual trust, benefit, prosperity and peace.”

Beijing should face reality and change its attitude toward cross-strait ties, Chiu said.

The council has not planned any events to mark the anniversary due to concerns about the pandemic, he said.


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